Citing low sales from its flat-panel TV business, Sharp announced a loss of $4.7 billion during the 2011 fiscal year – the largest net loss in the company’s history.

Sharp expects things will get worse before they get better, and predicts a further 18.7 percent drop of its TV business in the current year. However, the company expects to see growth and larger profits from its mobile-display business and is trying to focus its efforts on small screen sizes for mobile devices instead of large screens for HDTVs.

“In the second half, we think that we can become profitable again mainly through expected improved results in our displays for mobile devices,” Executive Managing Officer Tetsuo Onishi told reports at the Wall Street Journal.

In order to stay flush with cash, just last month Sharp jumped into bed with Hon Hai which bought a 46.5 percent of Sharp’s display business and 50 percent of LCD production at Sharp’s Sakai, Osako-based plant, for around $800 million.

Sharp is not the only Japanese consumer electronics manufacturer that has been struggling with profitability; Sony and Panasonic have both alluded to posting similar record annual losses when their reports come out next month. South Korean giants Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics dominate the market.

Image via Danijel Šivinjski/Flickr